Philadelphia-based videographer/photographer Rocco Avallone often has his lens focused on musicians. His documentary collective Out of Town Films has traveled the world to capture live sets, often in intimate spaces, from indie bands. When away from the camera, however, he makes striking, useful sculptures of wood, glass, steel and plants.
The industrial design grad started sketching ideas for vertical planters when he ran out of space by his windows and floors. VIVO walls was intended to be a hydroponic wall system that used pumps and tubes but it became simplified (and as a result, more affordable). Incorporating a wide range of different woods such as purple heart, olive ash, Spanish cedar, bubinga, apple and walnut, Avallone shapes the material into soft edges and asymmetrical bodies. These are striking statements when hung on the wall, but they play friendly with most interior design set-ups.
Upon closer look at some of the pieces, the angular, transparent holders reveal their origins as glass bottles. They’re also local, from Philly-based experimental spirits company Art In The Age. “I always liked the proportions of their bottles, they have a kind of science lab/old school apothecary feel to them,” says Avallone. “I approached them to see where they sourced their bottles from and they said they give out free samples every first Friday and keep the empty bottles in the their basement and I could have as many as I liked.” Though he’s conscientiously repurposing materials, the design is as intentional as it is elegant: “I hate when people repurpose recycled materials and it ends up looking like assembled garbage. There are a bunch of other wall planters that I’ve seen that are just mason jars strapped to a board.” Instead, he relishes in the surprise when people learn they’re bottles—only clear when you view from the side or back.
Prices range from $80 for single planters to $525 for the large-scale hydroponic Fluvio model, all of which are available online at Vivo Walls’ webshop and at local art and design fairs. Follow their Instagram to stay updated.
Images courtesy of Rocco Avallone